Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paper or Porcelain

Lately we have been using a lot of paper plates. Ok maybe the dishes aren't really porcelain, but Paper or China didn't have that paper or plastic alliterative ring to it (oh God OurDad is wearing off on us).

But I was wondering since OurDad is teaching Environmental Science this semester at the Old CC which was better for the environment, real dishes or the paper dishes.

"Hey Dad what would the Goracle say about us using all these paper plates?" I knew I was risking an entire environmental science lecture, but since we don't have a power point projector at home I figured it was pretty safe from the worst of it.

"Well son, there's more than just trees to consider. Sure cutting down trees is bad, but necessary in our society and many trees are farmed just for paper, paper can be recycled into make more paper plates or cups for that matter, and if you recycle them they aren't taking up space in a landfill.

The thought of eating off someone else's recycled plate was disgusting. "Dad I don't think yucky paper plates with grease and bits of food all over them can be recycled. They don't recycle pizza boxes. And cutting any amount of trees has a negative impact on global carbon emissions, farmed or not."

"Well it's not just about trees, how about the water we're saving. Not only the water we'd use to clean those plates," he said with a sneer and pointing to the cabinets to indicate the real dishes, "but the water we'd be polluting with all that detergent too."

"So water is more important that trees-- when you have to clean the dishes."

Just don't put it that way to your mother.


SourDad said...

Ok this one didn't really happen but I have been feeling guilty about using paper plates lately, but they were left over from a party...

It turns out that if you're using paper plates made from recycled materials it's nearly a toss up between washing the real ones and using the "green" paper plates.

Water or trees, water or trees...

Miranda said...

One of the blogs I read focuses on the intersection of the environment and economics (stop snickering!) and argues that the true costs of goods needs to start being captured in the price. For starters, gas should reflect all the social and financial costs of driving. Crops shouldn't be subsidized.

If disposal costs were included in the prices of most goods, I think people would make more rational decisions with regard to environment stewardship.

And while we are on the topic, I want cheaper water rates than my neighbors since, unlike them, I'm not pumping large quantities of toxic chemicals into the groundwater supply. I think that is an excellent place to start.